Friday, November 11, 2011

One Year In...

We have hard days. I still struggle on a regular basis with my thoughts about the whys and the hows of autism and what the future holds. I have a hard time taking one day at a time, one challenge at a time.

Then there are the good days. The days when I can see Liam breaking out of his shell. The days when I can see him interacting with his world and the people in it. The days when I can see how far he has come. The days when I get to see other people love on my child.

Liam has been attending the ABA therapy center for a year. He is now asking questions and making eye contact and generally trying to be involved with things that I was pretty certain he was completely oblivious to a year ago. People who don't see him often tell me they can see improvement with each visit. My most recent meeting with his program coordinator was fantastic. She said that she has a hard time with his program because he is currently acquiring skills so quickly. We attribute much of this to his current therapist. She has been with Liam since earlier this summer, and he has made drastic strides since then. This to me is such an amazing testament to having the right people involved.

The sweet man who drives the van had our family over for dinner. It turned out to be a little birthday party for Liam which included his therapist and a couple of other people from the center. They had spent their whole day working with Liam and other kiddos like him, and then spent their evening with us. It was heartwarming to witness the genuine love that these people who were previously strangers have for our son. I couldn't believe it. Liam's village is expanding to include such a fantastic group of people and I can't help but smile.

We had a birthday party for Liam too. We really haven't attempted that the past few years because Liam usually doesn't deal well with that sort of event. We decided to give it a try this year for his SIXTH birthday, but we did it Liam style. No organized unwrapping of gifts, no forcing everyone in the same room together for singing and cake. We invited family, and a few friends - all of Liam's people. I had so much fun preparing and Liam had a blast. We let him do his own thing, going inside or outside, everyone ate when they wanted and got their cupcakes when they wanted. We had a fire and a hayride. It was a perfect fall day and a very easy and peaceful night. It felt really good to have a  party for our son, who truly seemed to "get" for the first time that it was his special day, and his special party. I think maybe this is what this is supposed to feel like.

I intend to put in a concerted effort to focus on the good things instead of dwelling on the scary things. Instead of obsessing over the bad days, I will be thankful for the good days and keep looking forward to the next one.

Happy birthday to my sweet Liam! 

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